There are thousands of valuable approaches out there, ranging from developing our ability to listen and communicate with others to improving ourselves so we can be better relationship partners. If you’re interested in "conscious relationships" you’ve probably done some kind of work to improve the way that you and your partner interact.
The goal is to learn to become aware of the subtle space that you share—the invisible "shape" of your relationship—and then learning to evolve and develop that space.
As human beings, we influence each other on multiple levels—from the most obvious to the very subtle. Embracing our power of influence, learning how it functions and how we can engage its power consciously, with love, sensitivity, and focus, is critical in developing this "we space."
Take a moment to reflect on those who have had a profound influence on you and your life. How has their love, brilliance, commitment, and support shaped you at the deepest levels? What aspects of yourself have been molded by their touch? Imagine what your life would have been like without them. Now think of those that you’re in relationship with and start to consider what influence you might be having, consciously or unconsciously, on them.
Mutual openness is the ability to be vulnerable and transparent with each other and whatever the moment is presenting. It’s the willingness to let go of agendas and attempts to "get someplace." When you approach each other and the relationship with openness, curiosity, and acceptance, a deep enjoyment and sharing occurs. You discover that you love to explore greater mysteries together. Simply holding uncomfortable feelings in an open-ended way, with curiosity and trust, can be surprisingly powerful.
Here are some simple tips on how to cultivate openness in your relationships:
Become aware of expectations, fixed positions, and preconceived ideas about yourself, your partner, or the relationship.Be willing to explore these fixed concepts and, if possible, let them go.Investigate any sense of contractedness or fear.Actively challenge self-images that you have developed (e.g., "I am this kind of person" or "I am that kind of person").Become attuned to the movement of the optimizing force, follow its dynamism, and stop trying to fix or stabilize reality.
If you have a partner who is willing and interested, a great way to begin is to practice simply reflecting to each other those moments when you "lose" each other. First, establish why each of you is interested in the relationship. Then ask: What can I do to engage more fully? Choose a certain period of time when you agree to be fully present and interested in whatever is occurring between you. Notice what creates separation. It might be a sense of distance suddenly appearing, a recognition that the other person seems distracted or closed. Draw attention to those moments without trying yet to fix them. Simply become aware that you’ve disengaged or checked out and then bring yourselves back to full engagement and presence.
As you start to engage more deeply in your relationship and pay attention to the space that is opening up between you, you’ll find this relational space starts to have a life of its own and carry us beyond our differences to a whole new depth of communion. It will open up possibilities for intimacy and unity that are inspiring, creative, and deeply fulfilling.
For more on spiritual exercises to grow your relationship, check out Patricia Albere's book, Evolutionary Relationships: Unleashing the Power of Mutual Awakening.